[Updated after the jump with details about the victim and the attack.]
A UCSB body-boarder minding his own business just off the Vandenberg Air Force Base this morning had his leg bitten off by a shark, the Santa Maria Times reports.
The unidentified 20-year-old was pulled to shore by his friend, who was surfing nearby (except on a surfboard, like a normal person). Unfortunately, the victim died from blood loss before he could be taken to a hospital.
Because of the attack, the base has closed the beach, along with Wall and Minuteman beaches, for a minimum of 72 hours.
In September 2008, another young surfer (the elusive “Kyle”) reported to Fear Beneath that his board had been attacked by a Great White. “That is the third shark I've seen there and second in the last month,” he told the website.
However, at the time of the incident, base officials told the Santa Maria Times “that they believed it was the first shark incident off Vandenberg and sought recommendations from other coastal parks about their policies for beach closures.”
Earlier this year, a 38-year-old man suffered a similar death off Stuart Beach in Florida.
Update: The Associated Press just released the gory details of the shark attack heard round the world.
The victim is identified as 19-year-old Riverside County native Lucas Ransom, a chemical-engineering major at UCSB. Matthew Garcia, Ransom's friend who dragged him to shore, describes the 9 a.m. bloodbath in detail:
“When the shark hit him, he just said, 'Help me, dude!' He knew what was going on. It was really fast. You just saw a red wave and this water is blue — as blue as it could ever be — and it was just red, the whole wave.”
Garcia also mentioned that the shark appeared to be 18 feet in length. Federal and state Fish and Game officials told AP they had yet to identify the type of shark that bit Ransom.